Retired SCOTUS Justice Stephen Breyer blasts conservative judicial philosophy: 'Constitution no one wants'

 March 26, 2024

Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is offering some unusually candid critiques of his former colleagues as he promotes a new book on the law. 

Breyer, a liberal, warned that the judicial philosophy of the conservative justices will cause "chaos" and leave the country with a "Constitution no one wants."

Former Supreme Court justice speaks

For years, the Supreme Court was a rubber stamp for the left's vision of the country, but that has begun to change with the reversal of liberal precedents on issues like abortion and affirmative action.

The court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, setting off a political firestorm that is ongoing.

In a CBS interview, Breyer echoed the rhetoric of Democrats who have questioned the credibility of the newly conservative court.

"You overrule too many cases, and law will turn into chaos. And before you know it, you won't know what the law is," Breyer said.

"What is the principle? Is the principle that you think those cases decided then were really wrong, egregiously wrong, totally wrong? And how are you going to decide that?" he asked.

Breyer's dire warning

In a separate interview with Politico, Breyer championed his legal philosophy against the originalist method of the conservatives, which he called "seductive" in its simplicity but unable to adapt to changing circumstances.

If the court continues on its current path, the country will end up with a "a Constitution that no one wants," he warned.

The court has continued to look back, with Samuel Alito recently taking a shot at the nearly decade-old ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide.

Many argue the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges cut off a heated national debate on an important question, while setting the stage for growing intolerance of those with traditional views.

As Breyer sees it, the court's job is to uphold the changing "values" of the country rather than the law as it was understood by the Founders. The court should consider not only the law's text, but its "purposes, consequences and values," he told CBS.

Despite his rather sharp criticism of the court's approach, Breyer said he isn't suggesting the court is driven by politics.

"The political people desperately want to say that the judges are deciding on political bases. I don't think that's true," he said.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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